A Few Quick Mental Notes On Race, Brazil and the World Cup

Brazil, Germany World Cup 2014By Walter L. Hilliard III

Like everyone else I watched Brazil get crushed by Germany in the World Cup semi-final, but I’ve always been fascinated by Brazil because 41 percent, almost five million of the 12 million Africans shipped to the Americas (a couple of million died) during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, were taken to Brazil, while only 500,000, about 4 to 6 percent, were sent to what we now call the United States. But there’s no doubt that most Black Americans believe they are the epicenter of the “slavery universe.”


So, yes, during the World Cup I enjoyed observing what I would call the “Africaness” — the passion, creativity, strength, intelligence and beauty — of the Brazilians because I used to talk to James Brown and he said I should always feel like “I”m Black and I’m proud.”


“Say it loud!”


“I”m Black And I’m Proud!”


“. . . wit’ yo’ bad self!”


So when I see the dark and dark-er skin of the payers, sportin’ Afros and running around on the soccer field with creativity and swag in overdrive, I feel connected to them as a Black American, an African-American.  They are my long lost brothas and sistahs.


What’s also interesting about Brazil is they are a country that also struggles with racism, anti-Black racism, in particular.  And you will notice their issues with race if you just “read between the lines.”   But you don’t have to read too deeply because even during the simplest routine occurrences, you can see their issues with race or light and dark skin.  For example, at the beginning of the Germany-Brazil game, there was only one chocolate-skinned child among the Brazilian children who walked the players onto the field during the traditional pregame ceremony.  This example fits the complaints I always read or hear during interviews from brown-skinned Brazilian models that they can’t find work because only the White-looking or light-skinned models are called for the shows.


So, let’s just get right to the bottom line of this story:  Black, Brown, and light-skinned minorities of any group that believe and/or practice this form of self-hate – preferring lighter or Whiter skin – are committing a slow, life-long emotional suicide and they have a “disease of the mind” that will spread to their children.  And at the heart of their disease is a weakness that simply says:  “Please, White people, accept me. You are superior, and I am inferior – I will always kiss the ground you walk on, even though you probably don’t respect me.  I, in fact, want to be you.”


Wow! How bad is that?